In 2019, a well-known Egyptian archeologist revealed that he believed he had found the lost tomb of Cleopatra, the Queen of the Nile, whose tomb and sarcophagus are the stuff of legends, myths, rumors and hoaxes. This was the real thing, he assured. All he needed was the one thing all big-time archeologists in Egypt need. That showed up this year when a TV crew from the Science Channel arrived to dig where he marked the spot and announce the results in a cable special. The show will be aired soon and the hints are dropping like balloons at a political convention. Did they find the tomb? Is Cleopatra in it? How about the asp? Who will play them in the movie?
“In Egypt, on the edge of the Nile delta, a massive archaeological dig is underway as experts search for the tomb of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh. A new theory about Cleopatra’s burial ground introduced by archaeologist Dr. Kathleen Martinez, suggests her tomb may be found in a place known as Taposiris Magna.”
A Science Channel press release reveals the general location -- Taposiris Magna, about 30 miles (18 km) from Alexandria – and the star of the show (besides Cleo, of course) -- archaeologist Dr. Kathleen Martinez. You may remember just one paragraph ago that the archeologist was referred to as “he.” In early 2019, Egyptian archaeologist and former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs Dr. Zahi Hawass announced during a conference at the University of Palermo that HE had found the location of the tomb in Taposiris Magna – a location he’d long suspected. At that time, this writer noted that Dr. Kathleen Martínez has claimed since 2002 that Cleopatra and Marc Antony are buried in Taposiris Magna, possibly in the same complex as the famous Tomb of Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead.
Two Egyptian tomb experts both claiming to know the location of Cleopatra’s tomb. How did the Science Channel decide which one would get the funding to dig it out and star in the series? Not to sound cynical, but one hint might come from the fact that Dr. Martinez is much more – shall we say “photogenic” – than Dr. Hawass. After all, this IS television. Less cynically, the producers may have determined that Dr. Martinez was first and the site looked promising. In any case, we won’t know until the show airs on June 21 at 8 pm ET/PT on the Science Channel.
In the meantime, there’s the hints.
“Built over 2,000 years ago, the grounds of Taposiris Magna are honeycombed with hidden passages and tombs. When experts astonishingly uncover an undisturbed tomb decorated in gold leaf, it could be the answer to the 2,000-year-old mystery of Cleopatra’s final resting place.”
“The special will follow experts’ meticulous archaeology and the cutting-edge technology to reveal the secrets of Cleopatra’s life. Their findings revolutionize our understanding of who she was and how she lived.”
Did they find Cleo? Place your bets. Who will play Cleopatra in the movie? Lady Gaga says she wants the role. Maybe she could play Cleo AND Dr. Martinez in a weird juxtaposition. One more reason to be glad it’s not Dr. Hawass. (Sorry, Doc.)